“we’re redefining indcsn, and getting back to what we wanted to do all along” — indcsnBack
Jennifer Lee O'Brien
We were chuffed to hear that Leeds streetwear brand indcsn were launching a new collection, and even more delighted when they agreed to chat with us about it. Josh Clayborough and Greg Scarth – founders of indcsn and all-around good guys – take a tight-lipped approach to their business; they’d rather let the clothes speak for themselves.
“We just wanted to do something that was a bit more British,” Greg says about the brand’s beginnings. We’re sitting in the far room in White Cloth Gallery, a convenient neighbour to indcsn’s headquarters at Aire Street Workshops. Greg had chosen the spot and we were glad; the relaxed, clean-lined interior put us in a good place to talk about his streetwear line.
“I like this place for a really chill kind of early-evening drink like this,” he says, picking up his pint glass.
Greg is chill, but only in the controlled, collected way of someone who knows exactly what they’re doing. With indcsn, he does.
Started by Greg and Josh in Harrogate to give themselves more clothing options and a more British style of streetwear, indcsn has become an evolving collection with international stockists in over thirteen countries.
“We try to keep it only one physical store per city,” Greg tells us. “We try to keep it only one store per city – physical stores I mean.”
A lot of that latching on has been taking place online, where indcsn have been developing a reputation as a no-nonsense company with enough considered design and quality product to back it.
Josh and Greg aren’t afraid of being a little rude, because they’ve worked hard enough to know what they’re doing is good. And it’s healthy to fire an online F-Bomb now and again, particularly when it feels deserved.
indcsn has its roots in a suitably abrasive aesthetic; many of their cultural reference points call to mind old school punk and the hardcore nights Josh and Greg used to attend back in Harrogate.
“We started five years ago, if I’ve got my dates right. The anniversary of when we launched it all should actually be this June,” Greg says. “Josh and I met through the music and gig scene. Both of us were into fashion. We got talking and agreed we should do something of our own.
“At the time, things were a bit different in streetwear. It was nowhere near what it is now. We wanted to do something that was an English take on our own influences and make clothes that we personally wanted to wear. We weren’t being catered for at the time. And it has just grown from there.”
As a UK brand, Greg and Josh wanted to be recognisably a UK brand; what was missing from the streetwear scene at the time were clothes that reflected their own experiences. That’s one of the things that makes indscn different, although different isn’t always easy to sell in markets that are dominated by American styles. They’re doing a difficult thing.
“So many British consumers look to the US for the clothes that they want to wear. We’re doing our own take on it, but it’s a different thing.
“One thing we’ve always tried to stay away from is doing things like baseball jerseys, hockey jerseys, basketball jerseys – we’ve never done anything like that. We’ve done things that you could see as being American — baseball caps, for example — but that feels more international. For us, something like a baseball jersey just has no reference point in the UK, besides imitating America. And that’s not what we’re interested in doing. We’d rather do a football shirt, and use our own reference points about what we’ve grown up wearing, the kind of things we’re interested in.”
Being a Leeds-based company has meant the kind of local support you can only get in a city that looks after its own; their first stockist, The Chimp Store in Thornton’s Arcade, have helped indcsn make a name for itself in the city and beyond.
“Chimp were one of our biggest supporters from the very early days – we’re still really happy to work with them,” Greg says.
“I think there’s quite a healthy retail scene at the moment for fashion in Leeds; lots of stores, lots of choice — more than many other times in the past. But I think the big thing that has really changed in Leeds over the last couple of years is that there are more exciting options in terms of food, drink, bars, clubs. And I think a lot of old places have been revitalised by the influx of new places.”
Their newest collection, photographed by one of our favourite creatives, Joseph Dawson, is a revival of indcsn’s honest approach to streetwear — wearable, quality clothing with no pretence. It’s the product of some Northern guys that like looking and feeling good in their clothes, and that shows.
“With this lookbook we gave Joseph free reign to go ahead and create what he thought would work for this collection, and he’s done a really great job in representing the clothing in very simple terms,” he says.
“To be quite honest, in the past we’ve probably gone a bit too far in the direction of following things that were selling well for us. We reached a stage where we looked at what we had put together for one collection and it was like — we personally wouldn’t wear much of this stuff. The reason we created indcsn was to do something that we loved, so we decided to get back on track.”
“The last two collections, up to and including this one, are much more about tidying up the designs, getting cleaner, simpler, much more geometric and typographic-led stuff rather than slogans and cartoons. We’re not jumping to a completely new direction. We feel like with our recent collections, we’re refining indcsn, and getting back to what we wanted to do all along.”
Originally published in The City Talking: Leeds, issue 25